These Data Centers are at the Center of the Cloud


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People thought that our previous post on this topic was helpful, so we wanted to provide some more insight. We have been looking into the physical side of the cloud– the data centers that Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others use to host the infrastructure that powers our applications. We initially focused on trying to figure out where the data centers are physically located (which is a more difficult task than you might expect) and ended up compiling some other information that we think might be interesting to others:

Microsoft Quincy Data Center

Microsoft Quincy Data Center (Photo: Microsoft)

  • Cloud data centers are huge.  Many have hundreds of thousands of square feet of space. Microsoft highlights the fact that one of its Azure data centers takes up as much space as ten football fields.
  • Clouds are expensive.  The tab for a single cloud data center can be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • Many providers lease space in large colocation facilities. In fact, some competing providers lease space in the same facilities.  In an extreme case, Softlayer actually serves as the hosting provider for at least one Linode location.  Other facilities are leased from DuPont Fabros (Rackspace), Equinix (AWS), Switch (Profitbricks), others.
  • Many cloud “regions” are actually comprised of two or more distinct data centers (such as AWS in Sydney).
  • Unsurprisingly, cloud data centers are showing up in clusters around major internet hubs with existing facilities and world-class network infrastructure.
  • While many data centers are in or near major metropolitan hubs (New York, Chicago, London, Hong Kong, etc.), some are popping up in unexpected locations such as Boardman, Oregon (Amazon) and Quincy, WA (Microsoft) in order to get access to cheap Hydroelectric power from the Columbia River.
  • On the whole,  cloud providers have under-invested in emerging markets with high internet use.  None of the major providers have facilities in mainland China or India, and only Amazon has a presence in Brazil.
Internet Activity - Brazil, India, China the next cloud frontiers?

Internet Activity – Brazil, India, China the next cloud frontiers? (Source: internet census 2012)

Here is a list of cloud data centers that we included in our research.  The live list is available here.  It took quite a bit of searching to arrive at our best guess on the locations, so some addresses may be inaccurate (few providers disclose their data center locations):

Provider Continent Region/Sub-region Nearest City
AWS North America US East (N Virginia) Washington, DC
AWS North America US West (N California) San Francisco, CA
AWS North America US West (Oregon) Boardman, OR
AWS North America GovCloud Portland, OR or Seattle, WA
AWS South America South America (Sao Paulo) Sao Paulo, Brazil
AWS Europe EU (Ireland) Dublin, Ireland
AWS Asia Asia Pacific (Singapore) Singapore
AWS Asia Asia Pacific (Tokyo) Tokyo, Japan
AWS Asia Asia Pacific (Sydney) Sydney, Austrailia
Rackspace North America Dallas (DFW) Dallas, Texas
Rackspace North America Chicago (ORD) Chicago, IL
Rackspace North America Northern Virginia (IAD) Ashburn, VA
Rackspace Europe London (LON) London, England
Rackspace Asia Hong Kong (HKG) Hong Kong, China
Rackspace Austrailia Sydney (SYD) Sydney, Austrailia
IBM/Softlayer North America Dallas Dallas, Texas
IBM/Softlayer North America Houston Houston, Texas
IBM/Softlayer North America Seattle Seattle, WA
IBM/Softlayer North America Washington Washington, DC
IBM/Softlayer North America San Jose Santa Clara, CA
IBM/Softlayer Europe Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands
IBM/Softlayer Asia Singapore Singapore
Google North America Central US Council Bluffs, IA
Google North America Central US Pryor Creek, OK
Google North America Europe Europe
Microsoft Azure North America North-central US Chicago, IL
Microsoft Azure North America South-central US San Antonio, TX
Microsoft Azure North America West US California
Microsoft Azure North America East US Boydton, Virginia
Microsoft Azure Asia East Asia Hong Kong, China
Microsoft Azure Asia South East Asia Singapore
Microsoft Azure Europe Northern Europe Dublin, Ireland
Microsoft Azure Europe West Europe Amsterdam, Netherlands
Linode Asia Tokyo Tokyo, Japan
Linode Europe London London, England
Linode North America Newark Newark, NJ
Linode North America Atlanta Atlanta, GA
Linode North America Dallas Dallas, Texas
Linode North America Fremont Fremont, CA
Digital Ocean North America New York New York, NY
Digital Ocean North America San Francisco San Francisco, CA
Digital Ocean Europe Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands
Profitbricks North America Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV
Profitbricks Europe Germany Karlsruhe, Germany
GoGrid North America US-West-1 San Francisco, CA
GoGrid North America US-East-1 Ashburn, VA
GoGrid Europe EU-West-1 Amsterdam, Netherlands

We hope you find this useful, and we would appreciate any updates or corrections!

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